Generals bow to Brookdale 72-69 in semis
Loch Sheldrake, NY – The Herkimer Generals led by nine points with six minutes to play, but a late surge by #1-ranked Brookdale gave the Jersey Blues a 72-69 win in the men's basketball national championship semifinal game on Friday night. Herkimer will now play for third place.
When the Generals played their previous, quarterfinal game on Thursday night, they began with a dominating offensive barrage and led 22-7 after only eight minutes, but quite the opposite happened on Friday night. The Generals could not generate much offense in the early going. After eight minutes of play, Herkimer trailed the Jersey Blues 15-4.
The Green & Gold then started to work their way back into the game. Dequan Jefferson put three on the board with a baseline drive and a free throw. Demetrius Mitchell added two NBA-distance threes. 24-16 Brookdale.
The Generals kept playing tough defense and chipped away at Brookdale's lead. Jonathan Feiler scored with a hook shot, then took a Jerome Floyd pass and tallied two more. Todd Hunt was fouled while shooting and sank both FTs. Mitchell sank a three from the right side, and the half ended with Brookdale in front by two, 30-28.
Herkimer kept up their effort in the second half. After six minutes of play, Mitchell took a Johnnie Davis pass and cut the lead to 42-41.
Brookdale had led from the opening tipoff, but with 12:36 left, Hunt scored from behind the arc, and Herkimer led 44-42. Floyd drove through traffic and scored. He added two more on a give-and-go. Davis drove through the lane and made it 50-45 in Herkimer's favor.
Jefferson fed Feiler, and Big Jon made it 56-48. A free throw by Steve Whittingham gave the Generals a nine-point lead. Then the Jersey Blues stepped up their attack.
Two timely threes got the Blues close. The game was tied 69-69 with 27.7 seconds to play. Then a final three-pointer sealed the comeback win for Brookdale.
Brookdale will now meet Eastfield College from Texas for the national championship on Saturday night. Herkimer will also play on Saturday evening, taking on MassBay CC in a 5:00 p.m. contest for third place.
Nick Scribe, website writer
Herkimer scoring: Hunt 9, Davis 8, Floyd 11, Jefferson 3, Whittingham 5, Thomas 10, Feiler 15, Mitchell 8 – Total 69